Lola ReRuns in the Classroom: Dramatic Improvisations on the Film Run Lola Run for Intermediate German Instruction


  • Erika M. Nelson



This paper presents an approach of how student-created dramatic reenactments and improvisational renditions of the German film Run Lola Run (Lola rennt, Tom Tykwer 1998) can serve as important vehicles to foster transcultural and communicative, student-centered competence in intermediate German language instruction, based on successful implementation in two intermediate college German courses. By performing improvised scenes, inspired by key scenes of the film, students learn to closely interpret and engage with the film’s themes and motifs beyond the meta-textual level, while sharpening their mastery of situational vocabulary, cultural nuance, and linguistic structures of the German language. This film in particular, with its focus on repetition and variation, offers especially suitable material for facilitating students’ awareness of language as a tool with which to access imaginative and interpretative potentials, as well as to express integral aspects of culture itself. The approach presented here also includes suggested materials, methods, and ideas to enhance understanding on the textual and performative levels and incorporate at the intermediate level of the curriculum, particularly for the Independent User level (B1 and B2)2 who has a basic grasp of the German language yet desires to develop greater linguistic flexibility and aptitude.


Arndt, Stefan (Producer); Twyker, Tom (Writer-Director): Run Lola Run (Lola rennt, 1998) [Film]

Berman, S. J. (1990): “Edutainment, an Idea Whose Time Has Come.” In: The Language Teacher, 14/11: 11-13

Bernhardt, Elizabeth B. (1983): “Three Approaches to Reading Comprehension in Intermediate German.” In: Modern Language Journal 67/2: 111-115

Bolton, Gavin (1984): Drama as Education. An Argument for Placing Drama at the Centre Of the Curriculum. Harlow: Longman

Borra, Adriana, and Mader-Koltay, Ruth (2007): German Through Film. New Haven: Yale University Press

Bräuer, Gerd (ed.): Body and Language: Intercultural Learning Through Drama. Advances in Foreign and Second Language Pedagogy. Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing

Dykstra-Pruim, Pennylyn (2008): “Developing an Intercultural Curriculum: Challenges and Lessons Learned.” In: Schulz, Renate & Tschirner, Erwin (eds.): Communicating Across Borders: Developing Intercultural Competence in German as a Foreign Language. Munich: Iudicium, 71-87

Haase, Christine (2003): “You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide: Transcultural Filmmaking in Run Lola Run (1998).” In: McCarthy, Margaret: Light Motives: German Popular Film in Perspective. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 395-416

Foss, Sonja K.; Waters, William J.C.; Armada, Bernard J. (2007): “Toward a Theory of Agentic Orientation: Rhetoric and Agency in Run Lola Run.” In: Communication Theory 17: 205-230

Lauer, A. Robert. (2003). “Run Lola Run at the Dawn of Postmodernity.” In: Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education, 3/1:

Kramsch, Claire (1983): “Culture and Constructs: Communicating Attitudes and Values in the Foreign Language Classroom.” In: Foreign Language Annals 16/6: 437-448

Motyl-Mudretzkyj, Irene; Michaela Späinghaus (2010): Anders Gedacht: Text and Context in the German-Speaking World. Heinle Cengage: Boston.

Peters, George (2003): “Integrating Culture in Beginning German. Kulturexkurse: A Model for Teaching Deeper German Culture in a Proficiency-Base Curriculum.” In: Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 36/2: 121-134

Reimer, Robert; Zachau, Reinhard; Sinka, Margit (2005): German Culture Through Film: An Introduction to German Cinema. Focus: Newburyport, MA

Reimer, Robert; Zachau, Reinhard (2006): Arbeitsbuch zu German Culture Through Film. Focus: Newburyport, MA

Rogers, Jeff (2007): “Am Beispiel ‘Anatomie’: A Proficiency-Oriented Approach to Film for First- and Second-Year German.” In: Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 40/2: 171-182

Sosulski, Michael J. (2008): “Workshop in German Drama: Using Period Acting Techniques to Enhance Second Language Acquisition” Scenario 1/1, 7-16

Whalen, Tom (2000): “The Rules of the Fame: Tom Twyker’s Lola Rennt.” In: Film Quarterly, 53/3: 33-40